Simon Carr

The Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, Simon Carr was described by Tony Blair as "the most vicious sketch writer working in Britain today". "Poison," said Charles Clarke. In the 1980s he helped launch The Independent, and was a speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992 to 1994. His working principle is "Indignation keeps us young."

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The Sketch: Electrifying growl shows the authentic voice of the Mail

On the last day of the "first module", we had the recall of Mail editor Paul Dacre to the Leveson Inquiry. We were all in suspense – right until victims' counsel finished his first question and the room reacted with one big "Huh?" What an example of forensic eloquence he made Ed Miliband look; eventually Mr Dacre was able to "refuse to answer" any more questions about the "mystery woman who didn't exist".

The Sketch: Not quite a clean bill of health, but Ed's stable

The important thing was the voice. It had lost the pleady, plaintive thing

The Sketch: How's an honest terrorist to know what's going on?

One after the other, MPs stood up goggling at their individual and collective helplessness

Simon Carr: Seeing him, it's hard to believe the reputation

Off his ground, out of his tank, Dacre looked nervous, defensive, even awed under examination

“It is interesting to note that the shyness and reticence that previously overcame the Hon Member for Shipley have now been successfully overcome.”

Point of order, Mr Speaker: Please stop speaking

Talking is part of his job description. But some people have begun to wish that John Bercow would occasionally shut up.

Simon Carr: Drowsy hum of an education bureaucrat

The Sketch

The Sketch: Meet silent executioner from the Cabinet Office

How long does it take to abolish 16 Agricultural Dwelling Houses Advisory Committees?

The Sketch: Another good day for Ed. Have the shackles come off?

He got away with it, on the whole, there was no animus on the backbenches against the Prime Minister; even David Davis left without asking a question. No Tory really blamed him for his EU-turn on the breakaway group's use of the common institutions like the European Court. The Lord only knows whether that really matters or not.

Simon Carr: All this talk of silos is getting us nowhere

Lord Turner talked of 'macroprudential systemic risk' but no one hurled rotten fruit at him

Simon Carr: No wonder Deputy Clegg hates inequality

The Sketch: As Dave was in Davos with the billionaires, Nick was struggling to make ends meet
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Day In a Page

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Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
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Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
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Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
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Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
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'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
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Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
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